Visiting Gardens

Creativity is contagious, pass it on ~Albert Einstein

One thing gardeners love to do is to visit other gardens. It is a chance to see how others  create beautiful spaces and inspire the rest of us to tweak or refine our own gardens. Inspiration and fellowship all in one package – what a great idea! This summer, I will be joining dozens of other garden bloggers from across the U.S., Canada, and the UK to visit gardens in the Washington D.C. area.15977491_1381982131833368_2823875859792622106_n

Garden Bloggers Fling is an annual gathering of garden bloggers to visit beautiful gardens and make connections with like-minded folks, an event I’ve been wanting to attend for the past few years. Tammy, one of the organizers of this year’s fling describes it as “three and a half days of gardeners gabfest.” Gentle encouragement posted by fellow blogger Jason at Garden in a City tipped the balance for me, as well as an image from a gorgeous rose-filled Franciscan monastery  garden on the tour.

There is nothing better than visiting gardens to discover new ideas and gain new inspiration. Knowing first hand what a challenge it is to prepare your garden for visitors, I am always grateful to those who open their gates to us. Here are two gardens in Pittsburgh that are worth visiting.

Choderwood is a hidden treasure in the eastern part of the city, located next to an industrial site and hidden behind a long stretch of high fence. A bold gate marks the entrance to the B&B sited above the Allegheny river. Ornamental gardens, quirky structures, scenic river views and a charming kitchen garden complete with chickens combine into one of the most unique gardens I’ve ever visited. A popular place for weddings, B&B guests can also stay in small boats on the river in season. How cool is that?

Want a shot of color in the middle of of a long gray winter? Get your color fix in this urban landmark destination for garden visitors worldwide. Randyland is the brainchild of artist Randy Gilson, who bought a crumbling home in the North Side of Pittsburgh years ago. On a shoestring budget, he transformed his house and garden with paint brush and plants and went on to help establish neighborhood community gardens that have changed lives.

Dreaming of the garden season is in full swing here – I’m starting seeds this weekend and my wish list for new plants is growing longer by the day. Are you planning any garden visits this year?

Originality is nothing but judicious imitation ~ Voltaire

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24 thoughts on “Visiting Gardens

  1. Wonderful tales and photos for a dreary midwinter day, and so inspiring! Looking forward to Madison’s Garden Expo next weekend, but yes, nothing like touring actual gardens, Lynn. Your trip sounds wonderful, and I can’t wait to hear/see all about it. What a grand treat to look forward to and anticipate! Yay! 🙂

    • Oh Kitty, a Garden Expo – sounds wonderful and welcome and so good for the winter spirits. I’ve been trying to do more to embrace the face of winter here but at some point I just need more color and sound than the garden offers right now. Time to go to The Phipps, our urban conservatory, for a jacket free stroll through the tropicals and orchids 🙂

  2. I’d like to make it a goal to visit at least one big garden every year. Last year I went to Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, which was really nice. This year, not sure. Maybe a Garden Conservancy tour? 🙂

  3. An Garden Judges and members of the Horticultural Society, we try to visit as many gardens as possible even when not judging them. With open gardens, though, one has to be guarded in what one says. Some owners will take any sort of suggestions as a reflection on their capability.
    Randy certainly brightens things up spectacularly!

      • Interestingly, we have an event called ‘Garden Lovers’ Day’ where gardeners are offered free advice by our Association of Garden Judges. The gardeners have asked for it — but it is amusing how often the comments are not well received!

  4. It looks like a lot of fun, Lynn. There are so many beautiful gardens in this region. I hope you’ll find time to share some of the gardens you see with us. 🙂

    Love all that color in your Randyland pictures. It’s the time of year when I start craving color.

    • Hi Robin, love your new gravatar photo! One of the reasons I like to tour gardens is the photographic opportunities, so I will definitely be sharing the bounty 🙂 Yes, I feel the same way about color – part of me begins starving for color during the winter months, so looking at colorful garden photos is a must! Randyland is an over the top expression of artistic whimsy – a real treasure in our city.

  5. These look like amazing gardens to visit! Once I’m done planning the Fling, I need to get around to visiting gardens in PA. I’m looking forward to meeting you! It’s so fun to meet the gardeners behind the blogs. Once you meet Jason and Judy, you’ll love them even more. The monastery is such a peaceful place. :o)

    • Tammy, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes, we have some great gardens in the state. I’m really looking forward to the Fling – meeting new friends and visiting great gardens – what could be better?

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